Fred said some days the temperature is perfect, some days the wind is perfect, some day the road is perfect, and some days the scenery is perfect. Some days two or three of these things combine. Today, or the first two-thirds of today’s ride, we had all four. Deep blue sky, dry air, hot sun, cooling breeze, wind at our backs, well-kept and smooth roads with few vehicles–and unusually polite drivers in those vehicles, traversing an ocean of grass (a cliche until you see it) with a Rocky Mountain backdrop. At times we moved at 20-25 miles per hour without pedaling. It was incredible.
The wind is fickle, though, and a few hours later it hit us anywhere from 90 degrees right to head-on. Most of the final 30 miles was hard work. We rolled into Waterton Village about 4 pm tired, parched, sore-legged, and elated.
Today started in Boston at 3:25 am when I woke to pack the truck and leave for Logan Airport. I picked up two friends, Peter a traveling companion on this trip, John the early-airport duty volunteer. We made it to Logan circuitously, the fault of overnight road construction and closed ramps, but we made it timely, checked our bags and oversized bicycle boxes, passed security, bought coffee, and arrived at the gate. Two flights and one three-hour layover we landed in Calgary, part of the advance team for this year’s bicycle trip. We picked up one of our two rental vehicles, a 7-person minivan. This trip does not feature panniers loaded with gear and food; that’s why we rent vans. We’d return for the cargo van later, after the flight-delayed advance team member arrived. Peter and I then located and checked into our hotel, confirmed the hotel would store our eight bike boxes for the next week (this required a minor threat to relocate if they didn’t honor their promise, made three months ago) , and explored Calgary with little success–Marda Loop was an underwhelming urban experience save for a wonderful coffee shop. We then returned to the airport to wait for Mike’s arrival–45 minutes late, rental of the cargo van, and then Bruce’s arrival. We dropped their bags and bike boxes at the hotel, had dinner in a local steak house, and then returned to the hotel at 11 pm Calgary time, 1 am Boston time. This post, midnight, and sleep, followed–as it may for you, for this is among the most boring posts I’ve written. Long, filled with too much downtime and tedious detail, ending without conclusion but, like the day, necessary to begin the trip.
An Ars Technica story provides more information about the U.S Copyright Group’s litigation campaign against movie downloaders. As mentioned here in March (see Bit Torrent-ers Beware) the Group is the revenue-generating brainchild of a Virgina law firm. As reported by Ars Technica it’s a simple idea: identify downloads of an independent film, team up with film’s producers, sue the anonymous John Does for copyright infringement, subpoena their identities, agree to settle for short money (compared to going to trial), split the proceeds with the film’s producers, rinse, repeat. Ars Technica identifies the films and number of defendants named in the eight suits, all filed since January 2010 in D.C. federal court ; The Hurt Locker is the best-known. U.S. Copyright Group has sued over 14,800 defendants to date. If the plaintiffs obtained an average of just $500 per defendant (a number I pulled out of the thin air) they would gross $7.4 million. From where I sit $500 per defendant seems plausible–some John Does will remain unidentified, some won’t exist, some will be judgment-proof, but even so an average of $500 per defendant is not a ridiculous plug number. Whether the lawyers’ costs come off the top or not, and even if the costs are $100/defendant, the net would be about $6 million. Ars Technica plugs in larger numbers to calculate a settlement pot of close to $20 million. Whoever is closer, it’s real money.